I had a quick Q&A with the purveyor of The Cornell Basketball Blog this week. Here it is.
The Boy: I threw together an MU-CU preview on RMN based entirely on stats and results. Tell me where I missed something, or where the numbers might be misleading. As someone who has clearly seen more of Cornell this year than any Missouri fan, tell us where this team's strengths and weaknesses lie.
Cornell Basketball Blog: STRENGTHS: Three-point shooting is the calling card of this Cornell Big Red team. Cornell plays four guards in the 8-9 man rotation that each shoot at least 39% from the perimeter. Ryan Wittman, a 6'6" wing forward is one of the best pure shooters in the country. He's not just accurate, but he can hit from well beyond NBA range. Leave Cornell's guards open and they will make you pay. So the Big Red can definitely spread the floor. But this team can also go inside. Jeff Foote, a long 7'0" center is a traditional back to the basket post player who gives Cornell some scoring touch around the paint.
WEAKNESSES: The Big Red are not as athletic as most Big 12 teams, so a fast-paced track meet is not in Cornell's favor. The Big Red have also struggled at various points in the season with defensive rebounding and breaking the press, two areas where the Big Red must excel to beat Missouri.
The Boy: How much experience does Cornell have in playing more up-tempo teams like Missouri?
Cornell Basketball Blog: Cornell hasn't played a team with the exact same style as Missouri, but Syracuse, Minnesota and Siena are teams with quick guards that like to go out and defend the opposition. Cornell led both Syracuse and Minnesota at halftime before falling.
The Boy: When looking at other 3-seeds, what were your initial reactions to drawing Missouri? Good draw for Cornell, or would you rather have gotten Kansas or Villanova (since you couldn't get 'Cuse again)?
Cornell Basketball Blog: We definitely would have preferred a team that played zone, so Missouri is not the ideal. But then again, we tend to think that Missouri is a better draw than a team with a dominating frontline like the Lopez twins that we played a year ago.